Universal Credit – latest news for housing associations

We set out the latest updates on Universal Credit, including a proposed change to the way rent is paid to landlords and the Christmas early payment schedule.

20 December 2018

Changes to the way rent is paid to landlords

In a letter to National Housing Federation Chief Executive Kate Henderson, Neil Couling, Director General of Universal Credit, has set out a commitment to redesign the way that landlords receive Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs). Currently, the tenant sees the money for rent deducted from their Universal Credit claim, but the landlord receives this money, with some delay, from the DWP on a four-weekly cycle. There are 13 cycles in the year, so during one cycle no payment will go to the landlord. We have argued that this system is not fit for purpose.

In his letter, Neil Couling says the Government is looking to redesign the system to pay APA’s to landlords to create a monthly payment system and will work with landlords on the design.

 

Weekly tenancies update

We have also pressed the Government on the need to amend regulations to allow Universal Credit to cover a whole year’s rent for tenants with weekly tenancies where there are 53 weeks in the year. For more details, please see the Federation’s technical advice note on this issue. We have raised this issue with ministers, who suggested that social landlords should address the issue by moving to monthly tenancies. This is unrealistic and we urge members to contact their local MPs to raise their concerns.  

 

Christmas payment schedule

Over Christmas, Universal Credit and other benefit payments will be paid early, depending on the individual’s payment dates. See the table below:

Benefit

Normal payment date

Christmas payment date

Universal Credit

25 or 26 December

24 December

Universal Credit

29 or 30 December

28 December

Universal Credit

1 January

31 December

Universal Credit

27, 28, 31 December or 2 January 

Payment date remains the same

Tax Credits

25, 26, 27 December

24 December

Tax Credits

28 December

27 December

Tax Credits

1 or 2 January

31 December

Tax Credits

3 January

2 January

Child Benefit

25 December

24 December

Child Benefit

1 January

24 December

Employment Support Allowance

25 December

21 December

Employment Support Allowance

1 January

31 December


The DWP has brought information for landlords together in a new website, including new videos explaining the landlord portal.

For more information, please contact Sue Ramsden.